Thursday, April 5, 2012

Comments from the Portland Press Herald -

Comments to the piece written in the Portland Press Herald were removed Tuesday night. We managed to save most if not all of the comments and will be publishing them here over time. This one is from brotherlt:

It is pretty simple either the GAL advocates for the Best Interest of a Child or they do not.

Parental Alienation.  Definitely happens often.  The parent that practices this should never be rewarded with primary custody of the child when they/and their lawyer have practiced this by design.  In my case, I did not see my son for five months over the holidays.  Stopping my unsupervised visits for no plausible reason, however since they court had not made any ruling about visitations and let the GAL schedule it, nothing stopped her from stopping visits entirely when first GAL withdrew from my case.  Did not see my son for five months, had to hire second GAL to do this, there is no authority from the court.  When the GAL withdrew, I voiced my concern to the judge that granted her withdrawal that there was no current plan for visits in place, I was then put on a Trailing Docket for my divorce and told that it would be discussed then, I did not know at that time that a Trailing Docket continues to trail and trail, in my case 18 months.  At no time did I ever appear before a Judge, therefore if I waited for the Judge, I still would not be seeing my child.

Substance Abuse.  Drugs/alcohol/prescription drug abuse.  If you are drug or alcohol dependent, should you be able to have primary custody without even admitting you have a problem or getting treatment?  If the other parent is clean and sober and not breaking the law in anyway, don't you think that the best interests currently would be with the sober parent.

Mental Health:  If you have not worked because of Stress/PTSD or what have you for let us say eight years and have a long history of Suicide Ideation, Self Mutliation (Cutting) in front of your adult children that you have been blue papered for mental health issues and the Judge denies you request for Discovery of Non-Financial Information (Mental Health/Prescription Drug Abuse) because it give the other person an unfair advantage at trial, then perhaps it should be investigated.  I was assured that the GAL would investigate this over and over.  If you are prescribed an opiate like Oxycontin and driving your child around, you are drug dependent because you cannot quit Opiates overnight and you are breaking the law and putting your child at unnecessary safety risks.

Child Abuse/Neglect.  Over and over your child has accidents.  Did they happen because you abused that child or did they happen because you were sleeping under the influence of prescription drugs and wasn't supervising your child as you should be?  Child is burned with what appears to be a cigarette, child has multiple incidents of huge bruises that you have no idea about until you bath him or you are made aware of them by someone else like I was, you decide there seems to be a trend here and file PFA only to be told that pictures can be altered,  Nothing written about it in the GAL Report.  File incident with DHHS.  No calls, no follow up, you later find out the complaint was unsubstantiated.

There is plenty of blame to go around, however it comes down to the basics question.

What is in the best interests of this child?

In my case, it was bureaucracy, big brother (email monitoring), breech of contract (failure to  interview appropriate people in a timely manner or investigate the issues that were presented) a court system that doesn't ensure that Status Conferences are being done in the case or a Trailing Docket that never hears your case in a timely manner because they are too busy with too many cases.

So if my ex-wife is driving under the influence of her prescription drugs and nods off or judgment is clouded by the effects of those drugs and god forbid my child is seriously injured or killed.  Who is responsible.  The Mother, the Guardian Ad Litem that recommended she get primary custody, the lawyers?  I don't know the answer and I don't want to know.  I can tell you right now, Quasi Immunity would definitely be questioned and it has been questioned by me for the last two years.

The loser is the child in my case.  The system is broken because there is no accountability of the Guardian Ad Litem at this time.

Link: MPBN - Report gives Maine an F


  1. I have been hearing a lot of buzz about guardian ad litems lately. I guess I didn't realize there was so many issues with them. Why hadn't I heard of this problem before?

  2. Dianna ValdiviesoApril 5, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    This comment is horrible. I feel so bad for this person having to go through what he did. It is clear to me that he very much cares for his son. I am not so sure the mother cares. It seems to me that her son is a meal ticket or source of income to pad out her lifestyle. What I don't understand is why the guardian felt it was better for the child to be with the mother who is unbalanced? It makes no sense to me. Is common sense thrown out the window with these guardian recommendations? Who is responsible for if the guardian makes a bad decision? It looks like a bad decision was made her.

    1. The question is indeed who is responsible. Certainly noone could suggest that it is better or "best"( or "least worst" in my GAL's words...) for a child to be removed from either parent. Its unnatural. Im disturbed that anyone would withold a child. (unless its a safety issue) These kids, deserve so much more. Congrats Megalalert for all your excellent work. And may the force - be with you.

  3. Are Guardians ad litem necessary? What do they add to a divorce? How do they determine what is"in the child's best interest"? Your opinion, or mine? "Child's best interest" is a highly subjective issue, yet GALs present it as if they had special communications from God! And... some judges take the GAL's opinion as if they were "expert witnesses". They are not. The issue becomes even more troubling when a GAL gives his/her "expertise" 'ex parte', ie, in a private, unchallenged conversation with the judge.

    'Ex parte' conversations between judge and GAL totally corrupt and distort the objectivity of any legal process. In GAL reform, 'ex parte' should be forbidden!

  4. From Maine to California, attorneys and their clients complain loudly about 'ex parte' discussions between judges and GALs. They complain with reason, because 'ex parte' distorts courtroom traditions that guarantee a fair trial.

    Common Law tradition calls for judicial impartiality, which requires that no one is able to take the judge aside privately and argue their views without challenge from the opposition. No one! But... 'ex parte' communications between judges GALs do just that. It is like have a trial in private before the "real" trial.

    There is a long, bad tradition of "court informers" who were allowed to provide secret evidence during the Inquisition and again during the French Revolution's "reign of terror",both of which understandably horrify people. It leaves the accused powerless and not knowing the "charges" or how to defend them! GALs and judges, who participate in 'ex parte' follow this troubling tradition!

    It needs to end. GAL reform of this practice is a must!

  5. The link (above) to the MPBN news item: Report Gives Maine an "F" is a must read for anyone wanting to know where Maine stood in 2009 regarding the legal protection of children.

    Maine received a low grade, along wth Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana and North Dakota. The report was done by "First Star" a children's advocacy group and the Children's Advocacy Institute of the University of San Diego School of Law. They were concerned about how children were legally represented. Do children have their own lawyer to represent them or does a GAL determine "what is in the child's best interest"? Maine uses the latter ("best interest") concept. "Best interest" is a highly subjective concept, with huge potential for social and cultural distortions of the GAL who makes claim to it. A lawyer for the child is more in keeping with the traditions of Common Law, having a "champion" to fight for you in court.

    As interesting as the report, is the defensive reaction of Mary Ann Lynch, Esq, Director of Court Information for Maine's Judicial Branch. "We are dismayed and shocked," she is reported as saying, "but if you look beyond the cover of the report, say who's writing the report, and you get a better sense of motivation." This sort of quick, defensive disparagement misses an opportunity to look deeper at Maine's rating and , perhaps, to learn something. What else does the report say? How do they back their findings?

    Which states are rated by the report as "A's"? Shouldn't we be looking at the A-rated states to learn something and see what practices they have that might help to repair our broken GAL system!

    In our opinion there is a serious attitude problem.

  6. I think the lines towards the end of the post says it all "So if my ex-wife is driving under the influence of her prescription drugs and nods off or judgment is clouded by the effects of those drugs and god forbid my child is seriously injured or killed. Who is responsible. The Mother, the Guardian Ad Litem that recommended she get primary custody, the lawyers? I don't know the answer and I don't want to know."

    I can sense the frustration and who would be held accountable?

    1. I want my day in court. I want grown educated people that took lots of monies from me to look out for the best interests of my child to explain how they came to that conclusion that it is better for my son to be with someone that is mentally ill and on at least 15 different prescription drugs to be with his mother who cannot even admit she has any problems although she is drug dependent on opiates. Since my son is only four, he cannot protect himself. This is crazy, I can see how some parents are frustrated with the system and I can see how some may even quit in the attempt to resolve this matter. I will not quit until the system is fixed and I am allowed to have a normal relationship with my child without the system attempting to hinder that relationship for no plausible reason.

    2. LT: God bless you and your son. It's all about the money! Haven't you heard the latest craze is to give the children to the unstable/abusive parent so that the stable/protective parent with the money will fight for the child, and continue to pour money into the trap?

    3. The GAL operates as a business and the incentive behind any business is profit. There is a conflict with this model when it is applied to GALs. If a GAL is supposed to be looking out for the 'best interest of the child', and yet bills so that more financial resources are taken away from that child, are 'the child's best interest' really at hand? No they are not.

  7. Pictures can be altered?!?!?!?!
    This story is HORRIFIC. I'm so sorry that you endured that.
    My "co-partner" was awarded primary residence due to a PFA- which was supported with in statement by two supposed pictures of two separate instances but only one picture at the hearing which was taken 2 days after being in his care, with an I-Phone (which I argued was easily altered).. Our daughter had not been in my care for a week prior to that.
    He was found abusive two prior times and found to be harassing me one other- there are numerous police reports supporting this as well. Judge would not hear it because A) it was abuse against me and B) the most recent one expired a little over 6 months prior and he said that it was too far in the past.
    He rarely paid support (was in contempt for working under the table to dodge payments- never filed taxes after the state seized his return in 2007) his visits had been less than 50% of the allotted time....
    He was considered more stable because I moved our oldest to a third (and final) school- He has a girlfriend he had been seeing for approximately 6months- I am married- had been at that time for 2 years, with my husband for a total of 5 years. He never had his own place, always lived with his parents- I've held my own place since I had our first when I was 18.
    The list goes on and on and on.
    Our guardian even put in her report that "Dad and Girlfriend are quick to anger" and that Dad "acted out of spite towards the mother" with support for that claim.
    Our children are better off there though.
    I am supposed to be notified of all Doctors appointments prior to the appointment... I don't get notified until after- if at all.
    Our order was supposed to have been modified, there were items I did not agree with- our GAL spoke up and said I was being difficult, that the order was fine the way it was. There is a statement that says he has final say on decisions should we disagree, visitation is unclear and open to interpretation (which he manipulates to his benefit) and is missing the right of first refusal that he 'agreed' to.
    I asked her (GAL) through tears at my hearing if she really felt that this was what was best for our children; she reaffirmed her position and could not look at me.
    How can these people sleep at night???

  8. Is anyone monitoring this blog any longer? I have a huge and CURRENT issue with a GAL who is openly hostile against me and my children's wishes even as their mother continues to exhibit the very behavior the children do not want to be exposed to! I have an attorney on the case but bringing this GAL's conduct to light seems to be a way to stop his abuse of power!

    1. @ anon-please email your info to Im interested in more information. Thanks